Strolling Helsinki

Kirby Wright

Neoclassic bones crumble. The 18th Century is propped by scaffolding along South Harbour yet visible under sheets of plastic. I’m struck by the stench of feces outside Hotel Kämp. Cracking pipes? I squint my vulture eyes: tourists swarm the Esplanadi for another free concert. A Finnish band sings “Black Magic Woman” to a Cuban couple doing the Salsa. I smell fish frying at the wharf. The Estonians are magicians with spatulas, flipping filets with crusty edges. I vow to purchase extra juniper coasters and peruse the postcards. Stamps too expensive. One day I will cross paths with Lasse Virén and ask about the Olympics. I imagine that Viking face tightening while contemplating his answer. I reach booths with red and orange canvas tops—the fish girl from Turku beckons from behind a greasy apron. I must dine before these vendors close at dusk, before the water trucks arrive to squirt bitten apples into Market Square gutters. 


It feels good being incognito. Do I know you? Perhaps, but there is too much water between us to make what we did important. I struggle remembering your face, recalling the pitch of your cry. Steam rises off the blackened salmon stuck to the end of my fork.


 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

Kirby Wright's second play, Asylum Uncle, opened at the Secret Theatre's LIC Festival in New York on November 4th, 2016. Wright was the 2016 Artist in Residence at the Eckerö Mail and Customs House in the Åland Islands, Finland. He is working on a poetry and flash manuscript set in Helsinki and Stockholm.